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Prep Baseball: Davie County preview

By Brian Pitts
sports@salisburypost.com
The Davie varsity baseball team has a slew of talent, but for the most part it’s young talent. With coach Mike Herndon counting on potential instead of proof, a top-two finish in the Central Piedmont Conference seems unlikely.
But Herndon sees no reason why the War Eagles can’t at least match last year’s production (15-9 overall, 5-5 CPC). They were fourth behind North Davidson, West Forsyth and Mount Tabor. Davie is looking to reverse a trend. It went from 24 wins in 2006 to 20 in 2007. Last year it dipped to 15.
If Davie handles growing pains early and finds confidence by conference time, this could be a sleeper team.
“I’m very excited,” Herndon said after a scrimmage against Watauga. “Watauga is supposed to be a pretty good measuring stick, and I thought we measured up pretty good.”
The roster consists of seniors Jess Cartner, Evan Crisco, Shelton Howard, Jacob Vernon and Jake Wyatt; juniors Brad Gaither, Ryan Barneycastle, Brandon Meade, Dillon Byerly, Tyler Seaford, Zach Long and Josh Berryhill; and sophomores Carson Herndon, Jacob Barber, Alex Newman, Joe Watson and Corey Bodenheimer, a transfer from a military academy.
Highly regarded freshmen Ryan Foster and Corey Randall could see varsity time.
Cartner was the No. 2 hitter a year ago at .371. Howard hit .359.
The other top returner is Vernon, who hit .254. Herndon could flip his order upside down and feel good about his chances.
“I think offensively we’re going to be OK,” he said. “From 1-9 we don’t swing it bad. Cartner really stood out against Watauga. Vernon swung it well. I really like the way Seaford swings it. Newman has done a real good job. There’s no easy outs. They all can swing it. They’re all capable of having a three-hit game.”
Davie has Cartner, Gaither and Barneycastle at first base; Crisco and Foster at second; Herndon at shortstop; Howard, Meade and Randall at third; Vernon, Barber and Byerly at catcher; Seaford and Byerly in left field; Newman and Wyatt in center; and Long, Watson and Bodenheimer in right.
Herndon has plenty of options on the mound.
On the flip side, the staff is extremely inexperienced on the varsity level, and that’s not an ideal scenario in the tough CPC. Gaither is first among returners with 42/3 innings pitched in ’08. Howard threw 11/3 and Long one.
That’s not exactly battle-tested.
The staff includes Berryhill, Watson, Gaither, Cartner, Long, Howard, Barber and Herndon.
“We have a lot of people who could give us innings,” Herndon said. “Our pitchers threw really well against Watauga. Gaither, Berryhill and Watson are three guys we hope can get the majority of the starts. Cartner is going to be a relief guy. Right now, we don’t expect anybody to go out there for seven innings. We’ll piece things together.”
On paper, Mount Tabor, loaded with three-year starters, is the team to beat in the CPC.

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